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Feasibility Study launched for a high speed train between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore

Future high speed rail link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore enters into an active phase of study. It would reduce travel time between both cities to a mere 90 minutes instead five hours today…

KUALA LUMPUR- It has been for at least 12 years a ‘hot potato’ to be debated between the Malaysian and the Singaporean government. A high speed rail link would put both city centres at just 90 minutes from each other –or even less. The idea of building a fast rail between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore was suggested a few months after the launching of the KLIA Ekspres, a high-speed train connecting Kuala Lumpur with its airport in Sepang.

However, this is only recently that the project gained strength as a feasibility study has now been officially launched. Malaysia Land and Public Transport Commission (SPAD) issued a tender for the study last December but a consultant team was only confirmed recently. The feasibility study will include a detailed commercial and technical assessment, before a final decision is made.

The project will request the construction of a brand-new line with specific tracks which will allow trains to circulate at at least 250 km/hour. Currently, maximum train speed on the KL-Singapore rail link reaches only 130 km/hour with travel. The study will also look at possible stops along the high speed line. It would most probably include at least a stop in the State of Melaka and a stop at Malaysia’s border town of Johor Bahru. So far, Chinese and Korean companies have already applied for the High rail line construction. In first estimates, the high speed link is due to cost between RM 8 billion and 14 billion (US$ 2.5 to US$ 3.7 billion) but rumours speak now of a total cost of RM 30 billion (US$ 9.4 billion). Analysts said that projects’ funding might be the principal challenge faced by the government.

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Luc Citrinot a French national is a freelance journalist and consultant in tourism and air transport with over 20 years experience. Based in Paris and Bangkok, he works for various travel and air transport trade publications in Europe and Asia.